KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jun 02 2011

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The hidden costs of new product lines

I have a cabinet line that I’m wrestling with. It’s a lovely line (and forgive me if I don’t name names) and while I enjoy it, it has a couple of idiosyncrasies that are completely different from the other 13 cabinet lines that I’ve worked with over my lifetime…and it’s cost me. Well, technically the company, but I hate making mistakes.

When you as a company take on a new line, there is always a learning curve at the beginning that will eat at the bottom line until everyone grows familiar with its quirks. I’m not talking the small items, such as handles, but furniture, cabinets, framing materials, windows—anything that is non-returnable or carries a hefty restocking fee.

If I were ever planning to be a company owner, here are the following 3 points I’d consider regarding new lines:

What is different about the line? By different, I mean how is ordering and executing this product different from other products?
For example, this new cabinet line automatically reduces overlay fillers by ¼ in. If I’d wanted the exact-sized filler, I should have ordered another item that isn’t actually called an overlay. Confused yet? I know I was. Sure, part of this is user error, but a mistake is a mistake.

How much training will be offered to launch this new product? It isn’t simply the question of a few training sessions with your designers or architects. How will it be installed? If there are licensed installers, a company visit to see how they work should be on the list. If not, what are the sticking points for your installers, and sub-contractors, and your contractors? How can you make it as smooth as possible for them while saving everyone endless phone calls and onsite visits?

Will there be a probationary period? Don’t be so quick to commit to “the next best thing.” A lot of new companies fail within the first three years. Products which looked good at first glance turn out to have some unexpected flaws. Isn’t it better to discover all of this before it’s installed in half of your showroom.

What experiences have you had that could have been avoided?

Until next time,


This entry was posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business, Inspiration, Kitchen Design, Products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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